Editor’s Note: Recently we announced the winners of our global Gone Google ad contest. Today’s featured winner is Matt Silverman, CIO of Just Salad from New York, NY.

Just Salad is a casual restaurant chain with six locations in Manhattan, and two locations in Hong Kong. Founded in 2006 by two recent college graduates Nick Kenner and Robert Crespi, Just Salad caters to health conscious customers looking for a fresh and fast meal.

We implemented Google Apps in 2008, and we have been extremely pleased with the results. While we originally made the switch for the robust email functionality that Gmail offers, the other applications in the Google Apps suite ended up being an invaluable toolset for all of our staff. In the restaurant business, the corporate staff are always on the run, visiting our different stores. Having all of our email, calendar, contacts, and documents available in Google Apps allows us to make our information accessible wherever our staff may be, which greatly improves our work efficiency.

The collaboration tools within Google Docs allow us to quickly and efficiently fill out our expense reports, brainstorm new ideas for our menu and operations, and maintain comprehensive training documents that can be printed by our staff in the stores at any time. We also use shared calendars to help with labor schedules, and to keep track of tasks on a store-by-store basis.

The scalable nature of Google Apps has also allowed us to seamlessly implement email in each store we open, with virtually no time spent on setting up email clients and office applications. Our network security has also improved, by moving the bulk of our virus checking to the cloud instead of managing it on premise, we are able to avoid most of the dangerous attachments that seem to plague Microsoft® Outlook email clients.

Out of all of the time saving features that Google Apps offers, the search function in Gmail is above and beyond the greatest feature. To give one quick example, we can enter transaction totals into Gmail to pull up various receipts for web purchases. This allows us to do our expense reports incredibly efficiently, without having to hunt through printed receipts to reconcile our purchases.

Finally, Google spreadsheets has allowed us to collaborate on in-depth nutrition analysis to help keep track of nutrition values for our 70+ salad ingredients. Keeping up on nutrition is hard work when you carry as many ingredients as we do, and allowing multiple staff members to work in tandem via Google Spreadsheets has proven to be incredibly useful. We look forward to continuing to work with Google Apps as we rapidly expand our restaurant concept throughout New York City, Hong Kong, and beyond.